The rigorous screening process….

The first thing for me to do was to get my contraceptive implant removed…I’d had this in place for the past 3 years to treat the symptoms of my Endometriosis.  It was due for renewal anyway so now would be the perfect time to see how my body would respond without it.  Rewind 3 years and I had been in severe pain with this, having also suffered a perforated Ovarian Cyst, most days I was barely able to stand up straight!  However, I certainly didn’t want to not try to begin the process of egg donation just in case I got some pain.  Knowing the pain of infertility, my Endometriosis pain is a small price to pay if I could help a couple become parents.

So, the day came for removal and to say I was nervous is a slight understatement.  The procedure is usually fairly straightforward, a little cut and they pull out the implant with forceps.  However, I had lost some weight since the insertion so it had moved quite considerably and kept moving away from the forceps.  Luckily, the local anaesthetic was very effective and I didn’t feel any pain.  I did have a nice yellow-green arm for a while afterwards though.

I tried to remain positive and not focus on the fact that my Endometriosis pain may well return with a vengeance.  Days turned into weeks and no sign of any pain!  Then quite unbelievably, one morning a few weeks later, I got my period, my first in 3 years.  It took me completely by surprise as again – no pain!   This was the first time in 15 years that I had had a period with no pain – amazed to say the least!  This also meant that my body was responding well to the implant coming out and was starting to get back into a cycle. This is great news for egg donation as sometimes it can take 4-5 months to get the effects of the implant out of the system meaning a delay in the treatment cycle.  So, all round, a very positive start!

The day for my first appointment at City Fertility in London finally arrived.  I had been feeling quite nervous leading up to it.  After all, if anything was not as it should be in this screening, I would not be able to donate.  I couldn’t help but keep thinking of my recipient couple throughout the day.  I would be absolutely devastated for them if I was not able to proceed and they would have to start all over again with finding a new donor.

My husband and I began the day with the train journey into London. After stopping off for some lunch, we arrived at City Fertility clinic.  First of all I was introduced to Jane, Head of Nursing, and we kicked things off straight away with the internal examination and ultrasound scan of my ovaries and uterus.  This is the part I was most nervous about – from a pain perspective and regarding my Endometriosis. After the initial embarrassment of explaining that I have a latex allergy so they couldn’t the normal latex sheath on the probe and then discovering that they didn’t have any non-latex ones so had to use a non latex glove over the probe!  Ah well, the giggles about that certainly broke the ice!!!  I was quite tense but not surprising since my last internal scan had been 4 years ago and was excruciatingly painful! This time, again I was amazed that there was no pain during this scan!  I was even able to sit up and look at the monitor.  I was over the moon to hear that everything looked lovely and healthy!  My husband and I have been following a very healthy lifestyle which seemingly has done me the world of good!  Hearing such wonderful news actually made me quite emotional. My ovaries looked good and very healthy and Jane seemed to think that I would get another period in a few weeks as my womb lining was thickening nicely.  This again is a good sign that my body is getting back to normal fairly quickly after my implant removal!  All in all and very successful scan!  Jane had no problem with me progressing 🙂

Next was the mandatory implications counselling session for both my husband and I.  Again, I was a little concerned about this due to my own infertility. But I had nothing to worry about at all.  The counsellor was very sweet and covered lots of issues.  We went into depth about us not having our own children and my reasons for wanting to donate my eggs.  She also said she has no problem with us progressing 🙂

Then we were onto all the nursing aspects.  I was given the Pill to start on the day of my next period.  This is to synchronize my cycle with the recipient woman.  Whilst I will be on medications to stimulate my ovaries ready for egg collection, she will be on medications to thicken the lining of her womb to get ready for the fertilised embryo to embed.  I then had 7 vials of blood taken…my poor little arm was going purple by the end!  All donors have to go through a stringent screening process to ensure suitability to donate.  Bloods include checking for genetic conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis and Chromosome Analysis ; Full hormone profile to ensure that there should be no difficulty in stimulating egg production ; blood group ; and other bloods cover making sure there is no evidence of any HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Syphilis or Gonorrhoea.   Oh and to top it off, a urine sample too!

So, after 3 and a half hours, we were free to go…. to begin the long wait for all my results.  If just one test came back abnormal, the process could not go ahead!  As much as I had no reason to think that anything would be wrong, I could not be entirely sure, anything could flag up on this screening!  An exhausting day but I came out feeling a lot more positive than I thought I would!

Keeping fingers and toes firmly crossed for good results…!